May 12th, 2014
So, you’re moving to standards based grading. You’re probably trying to decide how to replace traditional grades, and pouring countless hours into a report card redesign. Like many before you, you’re probably feeling a little overwhelmed, and your goal of maintaining a single page is looking impossible… unless you change the margins and use a size five font. You may also be worried about the teachers. Will they embrace this positive change, this new approach to learning? It will take more time, and will require them to explain the changes to parents. Don’t forget about parents! Many of them will wonder how their children will apply for college without a grade point average.
If you travel the same path as many others that have tried to implement standards based grading with a report card reflective of that instructional approach, you’ll likely end up with complex multi-page documents that are difficult and time consuming for teachers to complete. Additionally, many proponents of standards based grading are surprised to learn that many parents are slow to embrace the changes and prefer the simplicity of a letter grade.
After many months of research, and working with our District partners around the country, we released our mastery-based report card last September. We continued listening to our District partners, in the field, as they were implementing the report card. We learned a great deal, and are excited to announce the release of the first mastery-based report card to preserve the use of letter grades. We know you might be a little skeptical, but take a minute to consider the benefits. Our letter grades are not like your parents’ letter grades, and likely not like yours. They are a much different, and a much more accurate reflection of the level of a student’s understanding. Therefore, much stronger. Rather than reflecting extra credit, or penalizing students for being late, or unexcused absences, creating a complex formula, or averages, they are based on mastery. Yes, mastery. What the student knows, relative to the standard. The mastery grades are a reflection of knowledge and understanding.
Creating the grades is much less confusing as they are automatically calculated in a teacher’s mastery tracker using the percent of standards mastered during the grading period. You have complete control over the criteria for determining the cut scores for the letter grades and the best part is that the report card links right to teachers’ trackers.
If you have already moved away from letter grades, that’s ok too; we can customize the report card to match your current grading system. There really is a better way. Take a minute to look over the new report card and imagine the possibilities.